high school

10 Years Later: High School

A few weeks ago, in my newsletter, I wrote about how my 10 year high school reunion was coming up. Can you believe that? I find it hard to believe that I graduated 10 years ago--and of course, that means I graduated from college 6 years ago. 

I feel very old saying, "I blinked and it was gone." In many ways, I still feel very young. But some days, like when my knees hurt or I'm so tired I let my son watch his Elmo DVD for the fifth time and lie on the couch, I feel positively ancient. 

This all got me thinking though: what really has changed about me in those 10 years? 

  • I went blonde. 
  • I got a pixie cut. 
  • I dyed my hair red about 100 times. 
  • I grew my hair out. 
  • I cut it short again. Repeat 4 times. 
  • I gained weight. 
  • I lost weight. 
  • I gained weight again. 
  • I started a fashion blog. 
  • I quit my fashion blog. 
  • I started a lifestyle blog. 
  • I quit that lifestyle blog. 
  • I started this blog. 
  • I started Twitter. 
  • I joined Instagram. 
  • Pinterest happened. 
  • I started dating Danny. 
  • I got engaged to Danny. 
  • I married Danny. 
  • I had a baby. 
  • I got a bunch of jobs. 
  • I quit a bunch of jobs. 
  • I did way more internships that I ever thought would be necessary. 
  • I quit a lot of internships, too. 
  • I worked a lot of early mornings in coffee shops. 
  • I spent hours and hours and hours reading about blogging. 
  • I got a job I love. 
  • I made a lot of friends through blogging. 
  • Made a lot of creepy enemies too! 

And that's all I can think of just off the top of my head. And that's just the things I've done. 

It's hard to always make a list of the ways I've changed over the years. I sometimes feel like I am still that 18-year-old girl, but I also know that she and I are two very different people. I think she'd be really disappointed by where I am--and also a little relieved that I'm not an absolute failure. I'd love to tell her how great the next 5 years will be for her, and really, that makes up for the 3 years that follow that time span ("the bad times"). I wish I could tell my high school self that things will be ok, I don't need to develop the Type A personality I currently have, and that it's ok to relax, and have fun, and you don't have to work 100% of the time all the time. 

What have you learned since graduating high school? 

Let's Talk About that #2006vs2016 Thing

It's crazy to look at pictures of me in 2006. I was 17/18, in high school, wearing bad puffy jackets with faux fur trim and clutching gigantic Slurpee cups. (In my defense, you could refill that XTREME Slurpee cup for only $1.09. Really.) It's not difficult to say that 2006 me was a different person that 2016 me. 

2006 me still thought that things would be easy once I graduated high school and went to college. I would keep every single one of my best friends (uh duh, of course!); I would become a different person of my choosing in college; I would become a high powered editor at a fashion magazine; my skin would suddenly become "adult" (a myth that is still repeated to poor girls like me with crappy skin to this day) and I'd look great

2016 me knows lots of things that 2006 me didn't know. But neither one of us is better than the other. 

2006 me struggled with self-esteem, just like 2016 me, just in different ways. 

Looking back, I wish 2006 me had known that she was just as good as all of her friends, that she didn't have to have boys pay attention to her to be important, that she didn't have to be embarrassed that she worked a part-time job to pay for her car insurance and clothes. I wish she'd known that she was pretty great on her own, that she deserved people who wanted to spend time with her, and that she could have found different, potentially better friends. (No offense high school friends. 2006 me certainly wasn't a party to be around, admittedly.) 

I wonder what 2006 me would think looking at me now. I think she would be shocked and appalled that 2016 me lives in the same boring town and goes to the same boring places, but she'd probably also be terrified that I have a baby. A real life human baby that I take care of, alongside a dog and a husband. She'd probably also feel I'd sold out a little bit by working in marketing (gotta do what ya gotta do, baby girl!) and would be appalled that I wasn't published by now. (2006 me had some very unrealistic expectations for the publishing industry and her own writing output). 

To me, the 2006 vs 2016 hashtag isn't really about looks though. Do I look different than in 2006? Duh. I've aged 10 years; I've had a baby; I survived college and the terrible economy and working as a receptionist. My hair is somehow darker and more gray. I weigh more. I wear a lot more make up. But hey, at least I've learned to work the selfie angle. The most important thing is that I feel differently than I did in 2006. I feel like I've grown up. Sometimes I worry that I feel too much like a teenager still, but looking at pictures of high school me makes me realize that, realistically, I'm so much more adult than I think I am. I'm basically a grown up. As if it wasn't obvious before. 

Tell me: what's different between 2006 you and 2016 you? What would you think of each other?